Rumor: Intel partner docs add to eight-core Coffee Lake CPU chatter

The rushed release of Intel's eighth-generation Core Coffee Lake processors late last year was almost certainly a reaction to the splash that rival AMD made in launching its up-to-eight-core Ryzen desktop chips in March 2017. Even with the Ryzen-matching performance of the Core i7-8700K, many were left wondering when Intel would truly match AMD's core counts on its mainstream desktop platform. A set of confidential documents in the silicon maker's Coffee Lake S technical library suggests that Intel loyalists wishing for eight cores and 16 threads without the expense of the company's X299 platform might have new options in the near future.

The trio of documents, titled "Coffee Lake S 8+2 DDR4 UDIMM Reference Validation Platform Technical Documentation Kit," "Coffee Lake S6+2 S8+2 Processor Line Ballout, Signal, and Mechanical Package," and "Coffee Lake S 8+2 Processor Power Integrity Model," are not available for us mere mortals to view, but the very titles of the documents suggest future products with eight processor cores and GT2 integrated graphics are in the works. The first document shows a last-updated date all the way back in December of last year, suggesting that Intel's manufacturing partners have been preparing for future eight-core parts for at least a few months.

For reference, current Gen9 GT2 IGPs contain either 23 or 24 execution units and are dubbed UHD Graphics 620 or UHD Graphics 630 depending on application. The EU count of future processor generations could change.  Also unknown are the platform requirements of hypothetical eight-core mainstream desktop Core CPUs. The apparent beefing-up in power delivery between the Z270 boards that came along with Kaby Lake CPUs and the Z370 motherboards required for Coffee Lake chips might still not be enough to support rumored eight-core processors. Indeed, rumors of a Z390 chipset have swirled since before the launch of Z370 motherboards back in October of last year.

These documents, combined with remarks in some of Biostar's product manuals last week, suggest that the Z370 chipset's reign atop Intel's mainstream desktop chipset hierarchy may be even shorter than Z270's 10-month term. For now, all we have is more smoke to go with a potential fire.

Comments closed
    • ermo
    • 2 years ago

    I tend to keep my boxes for quite a while and try to plan things such that I can migrate the previous top-of-the-line hardware down to Linux dev-duty. At this point in time, that means 8 cores/16 threads for compile workloads if I’m going to justify a purchase.

    IF intel can deliver a reasonably priced (compared to the Ryzen R7 2700X SKU), overclockable, VT-d enabled 8-core CPU with similar TDP+clockspeeds and higher IPC than the 2700x, THEN it’s not out of the question that I’d go for that over the 2700X.

    I’d probably be willing to pay around €50-€80 more for the intel-based mobo+CPU+cooler combo in that scenario, but the performance/price ratio would also have to justify said markup.

    • psuedonymous
    • 2 years ago

    The thing I find odd is the idea that [i<]Z390[/i<] would arrive with these hypothetical Coffee-Lake-Refresh-but-bigger CPUs, rather than going to Z470. Unless they intend to keep Socket H4-and-a-bit around for both a Coffee Lake refresh [i<]and[/i<] whatever the immediate successor to Coffee Lake on the desktop is. Z390 launching along with H3xx to replace Z370 as Z68 did for P67) would have made more sense. We've had a decade of two-compatible-gens-per-socket (two chipset gens, two CPU gens) for Intel's consumer sockets, it'd be weird to suddenly up that to three gens per socket which would push back platform improvements where Intel is most competitive (e.g. delaying when integration of Thunderbolt to the PCH could occur, which would need widened/faster DMI).

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    Oh Intel, at least let the vendors get their launch products for your current socket available in stores before you drop the socket for a new version…..

    • Krogoth
    • 2 years ago

    It is more likely that Intel is probably going to cram binned Skylake-X silicon (6 core/8-core SKUs) into a Socket 1151 package (Dual-channel DDR4, sixteen PCIe 3.0 lanes, no IGP) as a way to clear inventory and getting a “desktop CPU” that decisively beats the Ryzen+.

    They already crammed Kaby-Lake silicon into Socket 2066 package so it isn’t that far-fetched.

      • Chrispy_
      • 2 years ago

      Cramming Kaby into 2066 is like putting a bed for a doll’s house into a full-sized room.
      Cramming Skylake-X into 1151 is like putting a full-sized bed into a doll’s house.

      One of these scenarios is less problematic than the other.

        • ptsant
        • 2 years ago

        Also, 2066 MBs are extremely expensive because they need 8 or more layers. Not a good requirement for the “budget/mainstream” platform.

          • Krogoth
          • 2 years ago

          There really isn’t that much of a difference between over-engineered/overclocking-friendly “mainstream” boards and workstation boards.

          I never said anymore that the possibility was a good or wise idea. It is just more probable for them shoe-horn existing LCC Skylake-X into Socket 1151 packaging if they want to do “mainstream” six-eight SKUs this year. It is because designing and taping out new silicon takes years and I honestly don’t think Intel had any plans for eight-core “mainstream” silicon SKUs until recently. They could also go the route of just stripping down X299 platform as “Z390” place as “high-end” mainstream while rebrand some of the their existing Socket 2066 LCC Skylake-X chips(adding just higher turbo speeds) as new “i7 chips”. Just to decisively beat the Ryzen+ at the mainstream market.

          AMD already did the same thing with Epyc SPs by stripping their platform down and throw more clockspeed at the chips to form “Threadripper/X399 platform”

            • Chrispy_
            • 2 years ago

            Wouldn’t they need to strip out memory controllers and completely redo the pinouts via some kind of interposer or mid-package layer? Is that even possible without utterly ruining the performance and drivings costs up to unappealing levels?

            • Srsly_Bro
            • 2 years ago

            Yes, he literally has no clue.

            • Krogoth
            • 2 years ago

            I never said or imply it was a wise idea but it is technically feasible. There’s simply not enough time to design and tape out a dedicated eight-core Coffee Lake silicon in direct response to Ryzen be launch this year. I doubt Intel would have design a such mainstream SKU well in advance either.

            • chuckula
            • 2 years ago

            [quote<]AMD already did the same thing with Epyc SPs by stripping their platform down and throw more clockspeed at the chips to form "Threadripper/X399 platform" [/quote<] No, AMD didn't put Threadripper into the AM4 socket whatsoever, which is the equivalent of what you are alleging Intel will do. There's a giant chasm between using half the chips of your high-end solution hooked into the exact same physical socket that's half turned-on electrically in exactly the same way it exists in the high-end solution (Epyc vs. Threadripper) vs. slapping your high end solution into a socket that's massively smaller both physically and electrically.

            • Krogoth
            • 2 years ago

            Threadripper and its socket (TR4) are a stripped down versionof Epyc platform.

            Skylake LCC can physically fit onto Socket 1151 package (it would be a tight fit). It wouldn’t be that be difficult to make it work electrically. Socket 2066 was really meant for Skylake X HCC silicon. It would be quicker and cheaper to do then completely design and tape out a whole new piece of silicon.

            The most likely route is that Intel will be just make a cheaper X299 platform (28 PCIe lanes only and possibly make it dual-channel DDR4 as “Z390”) and release more aggressively clocked Skylake-X LCC i7 SKUs.

            • chuckula
            • 2 years ago

            [quote<]Threadripper and its socket (TR4) are a stripped down versionof Epyc platform. [/quote<] That fact is true only when completely taken out of context and completely irrelevant to why you are flat wrong about Intel putting LGA-2066 chips into LGA-1151. TR's socket is literally identical to Epyc's socket physically. Electrically, it is *also* identical to the half of Epyc's socket that's actually implemented in Threadripper with the other half just being dead weight physically and electrically because it was cheaper to not re-implement a new socket form factor. In every way that counts, threadripper and Epyc are identical, it's just that Threadripper was designed to never turn on half the package. There's no way whatsoever that Threadripper could be implemented in socket AM4, which is the actual thing you are stating while trying to do a logical bait-n-switch. Additionally, there's no way that all four Epyc packages could work in a Threadripper motherboard where half the socket is literally connected to nothing whatsoever.

            • Srsly_Bro
            • 2 years ago

            Thank you sir for explaining that to him. I doubt it will make a difference. He lacks a foundation of understanding yet speaks as I’d he is well read.

            +1

            • Krogoth
            • 2 years ago

            Much projection eh?

            Playing IDF/half-witted troll is making you too rash and jumping into conclusions. You sure love to take some silly conjuncture out of context.

            • Chrispy_
            • 2 years ago

            Maybe I can talk to you in beer glasses, which is nice and easy to understand.

            [list<][*<]AM4 is a one-pint glass, and Ryzen is one pint. [/*<][*<]TR4 is a four-pint jug, half full of ice and TR is two pints [/*<][*<]SP3 is an empty four-pint jug, and Epyc is four pints.[/*<][/list<] [list<][*<]S1151 is a 500ml glass, and Kaby-Lake is 500ml. [/*<][*<]S2066 is a 1l glass, and Skylake-X is 1l.[/*<][/list<] [list<][*<]Kaby-X's 500ml beverage fits in the 1l glass of S2066 with free space. [/*<][*<]Skylake-X's 1l beverage overflows when poured into the 500ml glass of S1151 and the remaining beverage just gets spilled all over the table, your trousers, your phone and generally ruins everyone's day.[/*<][/list<] The new mesh architecture of Skylake-X is heavy on interconnects. You can disable dies, but the mesh stops working if the interconnects to memory controllers, PCIe nodes and of course power to each node in the mesh aren't there because of a halving in the number of pins. The architecture is designed to scale up rather than down without respinning new silicon and redesigning for a smaller package. Maybe there's some voodoo Intel can do that I don't understand, but the in-depth architectural articles on Intel's new mesh topology made it pretty clear that you couldn't just chop one of these in half, unlike the old dual-ring dies that could lose a ring still have one fully-functioning ring left over.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 2 years ago

      what?

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      Funny how my accurate posts are downthumbed as usual but that nonsense was previously upthumbed by people who have no idea how power delivery to a chip actually works.

      • psuedonymous
      • 2 years ago

      Not going to happen, Skylake-X uses FIVR.

      • Bauxite
      • 2 years ago

      Clearly you have not looked at any delidded 2066 cpus.

    • bthylafh
    • 2 years ago

    Intel: GUISE YOU SHOULD TOTALLY PAY ATTENTION TO THIS INSTEAD OF THREADRIPPER.

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      THAT’S WHY IT’S $1000, JUST LIKE THE 1950X!

        • Bauxite
        • 2 years ago

        $700 now with a revision bump coming this summer. Amazing what actual competition does.

        Remember the 6900x for $999, lol 6950x for $1700 and $350 quad mainstream for how many years? Pepperidge farm remembers.

          • chuckula
          • 2 years ago

          Yes, I’m extremely grateful that Intel has presented strong competition for years to give AMD something to implement for Ryzen.

          They were even nice enough not to engage in a price war with AMD so that there still was an AMD in 2017 to launch Ryzen.

          Just think about how terrible it would have been if Intel had priced their 8 core chips at $200 in 2014.

    • srg86
    • 2 years ago

    This is exactly the sort of thing I’d be looking forward to for my next setup (not that I’m in the market yet). 8 cores + iGP.

    Still thanks AMD for finally bringing competition back.

      • DPete27
      • 2 years ago

      Not to sound silly in retrospect, but how many cores/threads are REALLY necessary on a consumer chipset product? Where should the cutoff between AM4/TR4 or Z370/X299 be?

      Obviously back in the early 2000’s we were arguing about whether or not the world needed > single core CPUs. Some would point out that core counts on consumer chipsets has stagnated in the past years, but even today, there are relatively few CONSUMER applications/tasks/uses that really even utilize 8 threads efficiently and the i7-870 launched back in 2009.

        • synthtel2
        • 2 years ago

        Two more possible answers:

        * However many will usually not be bound by two memory channels (very workload-dependent and somewhat cache-dependent, of course).

        * However many don’t add too much to the price at the margin. We can fit a lot of cores on a cheap die these days (hexacore CFL is only 24 mm[super<]2[/super<] bigger than quad CFL and we know from GPUs that a 200 mm[super<]2[/super<] die isn't that pricey), and going as wide as possible whenever possible is good for perf/watt and reliability even when absolute performance is good enough to not matter (the same performance might be available at substantially lower voltage). The diminishing returns in wide-scaling workloads can be balanced against the small cost per die of adding extra cores. Absent competition, exploring these margins is bad for profits, but at the current pace I expect we'll find them again soon enough.

        • Eversor
        • 2 years ago

        You can look at it the other way: budget solutions have stagnated at two cores since Ivy Bridge (Celeron, Pentium, AMD), even low power cores like Braswell/Apollo Lake are more readily available in dual than quad core parts.

        With this situation, comes a lack of motivation to optimize for multi-core, so high-end consumer parts don’t really have much to do with all the cores.

        Then, last year, Mozilla released Firefox Quantum with a specific objective of making better use of multi-core processors. By default, it uses 4 threads and I think can use more when the pages are loading.
        By this time, games have already move on past dual core and some need at least Hyper Threading to deliver decent performance. This is no doubt due to a large part of the console base moving to octa-cores.

        • blastdoor
        • 2 years ago

        Fair question and I don’t have a direct answer.

        But… another way to look at it is, are there “pro” users who need 8 cores but not all the other bells and whistles of a Xeon ( ECC, for example).

        The answer to that question is definitely Yes.

        And that’s why we needed AMD to bring the competition — they are disrupting Intel’s market segmentation strategy.

        • Redocbew
        • 2 years ago

        It’s an arbitrary line which I suppose should be decided on price if there’s no other way that really makes sense. There’s not going to be any one number which works across the board.

        It’s slow and difficult to derive performance from multithreading, but it(usually) works. This is really just another argument against upgrading a machine which can still do the job.

        • srg86
        • 2 years ago

        That is fair, I don’t think the average consumer needs more than 4 cores. heck even 4 threads.

        I can only speak for myself, I mainly want the iGP because of Intel’s Linux drivers. Sure I have an ATX mainboard and case, so I could also get an AMD GPU. I don’t play games though, so an Intel iGP has all the graphics horsepower I need. If I need more, I can add an AMD GPU later. Plus those PEG ports could be used for faster storage.

        But for my uses, the more cores/threads the merrier (also at a relatively high clock speed). Mainly for code compiling.

    • DancinJack
    • 2 years ago

    Listen, Intel, I want an 8 core desktop part from you that’s not X299, draws a million watts, and costs more for no reason. However, if I can’t use Z370 for this thing, you can piss right off. You were the only game in town for nearly a decade, but it’s not 2013 anymore. Get rekt.

    Love,
    Me

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      OK! We can do the “not X299 part”.

      We’re also happy to make it draw a million watts and cost more for no reason*.

      * OK, there [i<]is[/i<] a reason: Moar Profitz!!

      • Kretschmer
      • 2 years ago

      X399 it is. Thank you for your valuable feedback.

      • Krogoth
      • 2 years ago

      Wait for Ice Lake and later for that wish.

      • mganai
      • 2 years ago

      You can’t have it both ways. Intel has had power delivery on mainstream motherboards streamlined for chips capped at 4 cores for years. It is not something they can just pull out of their asses.

      AMD meanwhile has had no such limits on their power delivery on their platforms, for better/worse.

        • DancinJack
        • 2 years ago

        Exccccccept for Z370. The 8700k has six cores. You gonna tell me that Intel had NO IDEA WHATSOEVER that they might, maybe release an eight core S variant Coffee Lake only months later? Nah. Either they want the money or they can’t plan worth a piss.

          • Bauxite
          • 2 years ago

          Not only that, 8700k actually works back to even Z[b<]1[/b<]70 with a very minor mod.

            • DancinJack
            • 2 years ago

            This is what i’m talking about. I love Intel’s products. I have been using an Intel CPU, in one form or model or another, since I upgraded my Athlon X2. They just don’t have that kind of lead anymore though. They have plenty of money. Intel just needs to earn a little good faith by not completely screwing people over with this kind of stuff.

      • ronch
      • 2 years ago

      Ahem… Ryzen.

        • DancinJack
        • 2 years ago

        I thought it was clear from what I said above that’s what I was alluding to. Though Ryzen doesn’t have an iGPU that can do a lot of cool things for multimedia like Intel either. Not that the iGPU is my first priority, but it is still a plus.

    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    An eight core chip that also has built-in graphics?

    THANK YOU AMD IN 2020 WHEN YOU DO THE SAME THING.

    [Obviously downthumbed by Intel fanboys who think AMD won’t have 8-core APUs out in 2020!]

      • techguy
      • 2 years ago

      Shhh, don’t point out facts that put AMD in a negative light, you’ll be downvoted!

        • chuckula
        • 2 years ago

        Lol.

        Like any post of mine that’s actually correct from a strictly factual perspective has ever been downvoted.

        • Redocbew
        • 2 years ago

        Yes, Chuck obviously lives in abject dread of being downvoted.

          • chucko
          • 2 years ago

          I do not. Downvotes are what I live for.

          This is my most downvoted comment EVAR!

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 2 years ago

      The AMD shills are trying to counter your fight. You got that Intel Inside that can’t be beat. They have no chance.

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